The gold-plated ornamentation on the dome of Ekvira Devi Temple, located along Pune-Mumbai highway, near Karla in Lonavla was stolen by unidentified persons on Tuesday morning.
Pune rural police said the incident came to light at around 7 a.m. on Tuesday after a few villagers noticed that the dome was missing. Temple trustees have registered a case of theft with Lonavla police. Sources said a devotee had donated the ornamentation, worth around ₹1.5 lakh to ₹2 lakh, to the temple in 2015.
Footage being scanned
The robbery took place despite the presence of security personnel at the temple. The police are also going through the footage of the CCTV cameras installed at the temple.
An officer from the Lonavla police station said, “We are grilling people, including the guards, and examining the CCTV footage.” According to sources, an alert policeman had foiled a robbery attempt by a gang at the temple in 2011.
The temple is perched atop a hill and lies adjacent to the Buddhist Chaitya in the Karla rock-cut cave complex, which dates back to 160 BCE. The temple is believed to have been built by the Pandavas during exile.
The temple came into prominence recently after the family deity of Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray was placed in it. His son and party president Uddhav Thackeray visits the temple annually. He had visited the temple along with 63 newly-elected party legislators after the 2014 Maharashtra Assembly election results.
The temple draws thousands of devotees from across Maharashtra every year.